SDSU Football Spring Game recap: Aztec beats Warrior 10-3

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Credit: EVT Sports

The San Diego State football team held their annual spring game on Friday afternoon on campus, and Team Aztec beat Team Warrior 10-3 in a fierce, defensive battle. The players on Team Aztec earned a steak dinner, while the players on Team Warrior will be served hot dogs instead. 

The game was not open to the general public due to pandemic restrictions and precautions, but a limited number of parents of the student-athletes were able to attend. Coach Brady Hoke mentioned in his post-game press conference how nice it was to have parents in attendance supporting and cheering on the players and how they cannot wait to have fans back in attendance in the fall. 

The game was played with four 12-minute quarters, and the second half instituted a running clock, which led to a brisk 1 hour and 40-minute game. 

The only touchdown of the game was scored by Team Aztec midway through the first quarter when senior quarterback Lucas Johnson connected with senior wide receiver Ethan Dedeaux for a 72-yard scoring play. The ball was thrown into double coverage could have been intercepted, but Dedeaux, somehow, came down with the ball and ran it the rest of the way for the score.

Later in the first half, junior kicker Matt Araiza nailed a 57-yard field goal to extend Team Aztec’s lead to 10-0. 

Team Warrior finally got on the scoreboard when sophomore Jack Browning connected on a 23-yard field goal at the end of the first half to make it 10-3. Team Warrior’s scoring drive was set up by a Johnson fumble that was recovered by senior defensive lineman Kahi Neves.

Neither team scored in the second half. Freshman Collyn Hopkins missed a 37-yard field goal for Team Warrior in the 3rd quarter that could have cut it to 10-6. 

Credit: EVT Sports

The three QB’s vying for the starting role did not play particularly well. None of them passed for over 100 yards or completed at least 50% of their passes. While Johnson was the only one to throw a TD pass, sophomore Jalen Mayden, who split the majority of the snaps for Team Warrior with senior Jordon Brookshire, seemed to look the most comfortable moving around the pocket and making throws down the field. 

Coach Hoke was surprised the QB’s did not perform better in the game given the progress shown in practice, but he reiterated the belief he and the rest of the offensive coaching staff have in all three players. “For the first 14 days, I thought all three quarterbacks did a lot of good things. I think today we didn’t play as well, for one reason or another, at that position…we needed to make a little bit more progress, still have a ton of confidence in each and every one of them.”

Mayden completed a 47-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jesse Mathews down to the 2-yard line in the second quarter. The drive ended on a fumble at the goal line by junior running back Lucky Avinger that was forced by senior defensive lineman Sefo Mailangi and recovered by senior linebacker Segun Olubi.

Brookshire’s best throw of the game was to senior wide receiver Isaiah Richardson in the third quarter, resulting in a diving 33-yard catch. Brookshire audibled at the line of scrimmage, possibly noticing the lack of safety help to Richardson’s side, who was lined up in the slot and threw a perfect pass down the sideline that should have resulted in a TD and tie game if caught cleanly by the receiver.

Team Warrior had one last opportunity to tie the game with a drive in the final minute. Still, a Baylor Horning pass down the middle of the field was intercepted by junior safety Patrick McMorris in the red zone, sealing the victory for Team Aztec. McMorris’ interception was the only interception of the game by either team.

Despite the loss, Team Warrior outgained Team Aztec 236 to 167.

Redshirt freshman Jaylon Armstead led both teams with 50 yards rushing on 12 carries. No other player on either team rushed for more than 18 yards. Coach Hoke specifically singled out Armstead as a young player who got his first real taste of a game-like atmosphere and “ran the ball really well…broke a fair amount of tackles on a couple runs.”  

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Sophomore defensive lineman Dylan Taylor recorded the only two sacks for Team Aztec and led them with five solo tackles. Sophomore linebacker Vai Kaho, who coach Mattix praised in a recent press conference for his ability to play physical, recorded three of the four sacks for Team Warrior and led them with five solo tackles. 

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